Riding a bicycle is more than just basic transportation — it can be a fun and exciting hobby. When your children ride, remember that they're not alone. They share the road with cars, trucks, pedestrians, and other cyclists. Since accidents can turn a bicycle adventure into a bicycling tragedy, here are some tips to help make your children's ride a safe one.
What You Can Do
- Tell children to wear helmets. Studies have shown that using a bicycle helmet can reduce head injuries by up to 85 percent. Select a helmet that has a snug, but comfortable fit. Look for the helmet labels that show they are recommended by either the American National Standards Institute, www.ansi.org, or the Snell Memorial Foundation, www.smf.org.
- Make sure children wear proper clothing. Clothing should be light in color and close fitting to avoid being caught in the bicycle's moving parts. Also, be sure books and other loose items are carried in a backpack.
- Teach children to obey the rules of the road. These include all traffic signs, signals, and road markings. Teach children to ride on the right side of the street in single file and to use proper hand signals. Tell children never to hitch rides by grabbing onto moving cars or trucks.
- Teach children that before entering a street or intersection to check for traffic and always look left-right-left. Walk the bike across busy streets at corners or crosswalks.
- Children's bikes should display both front and rear reflectors. They should ride only in familiar areas and only during the daylight hours.
- Make sure children's bikes are adjusted properly. Check to make sure that all parts are secure and working. The handlebars should be firmly in place and turn easily. The wheels should be straight and secure. Check tires for pressure, bulges, and cracks.
- Teach children to always lock up their bike. A U-lock should be used, securing both the front wheel and the frame to a stationary object such as bike rack. Help children practice locking up their bike.
- Be sure children do not show off on their bikes. Hands should be kept on the handlebars, only one person should be on the bike at a time, and jumping curbs should not be allowed.
- Record the serial numbers of your children's bikes and keep them with the sales receipt and a photograph of the bike. Check with local police or the National Bike Registry (NBR) at 800-848-BIKE about bike registration programs. NBR recently partnered with NCPC to help return stolen bikes to their rightful owners.
- Mark children's bikes with an engraver to deter thieves and to help in identifying and returning a stolen bike. Use a unique number, such as your driver's license number.
Information Provided by: National Crime Prevention Council